Finance minister says action to be taken

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:49, Mar 27,2019


Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday said that actions would be taken against people responsible for abusing ASYCUDA World System, a web-based server of National Board of Revenue.
The Automated System for Customs Data server should be more protected, he said in his reaction to reports that outsiders using passwords of retired custom officials illegally released consignments in the past three years.
He was talking to reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on national purchase at secretariat.
Musfata Kamal also said that there should be more than one firewalls to protect the server.
None can protect the server erecting fence around it, he said.
Asked whether any committee would be appointed to probe the matter, Mustafa Kamal doubted if anything came out from such committees.
Revenue board officials said that a probe committee of the board, three other committees of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, Central Intelligence Cell and Chattogram Customs House were investigating the matter to find out people responsible for the forgery.
According to the findings of the committees, a syndicate of importers, clearing and forwarding agents and customs officials managed to release about 30 containers under 22 import consignments, most of which was locked by Central Intelligence Cell and Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate for suspicious misdeclaration.
C&F agents, on behalf of importers, also paid customs duty at the highest rate of 25 per cent to get the goods released, officials said, adding that they identified 14 importers and seven C&F agents behind the forgery.
The syndicate has logged in the global web-based Automated System for Customs Data for customs assessment about 4,000 times in the past three years since 2016 using user IDs and passwords of two customs officials who were once posted at the Chattogram Customs House.
The case of logging in the system took place outside of the customs house.
The revenue board has asked the committees to submit the report as soon as possible, probe officials said.
They said that customs intelligence in January first found that some prohibited consignments of imported goods had been released from Chattogram Customs House.
Customs intelligence in June 2018 asked Chattogram Customs House to lock a consignment in the ASYCUDA World System and stop releasing the goods before physical inspection suspecting misdeclaration.
But Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate found that the consignment along with some other consignments were released unlocking the system using the user IDs and password of two customs officials — DAM Mohibul Islam and Md Fazlul Haque.
The user IDs and passwords of the two officials remained active even after their transfer from the Chattogram Customs House or retirement.
They said that either the customs house did not deactivate the user IDs and passwords or the syndicate stolen the user IDs and passwords to take release of the goods.
M/S Chaklader Service and C&F agents Zarar Enterprise of Dhaka and MR Trade International took release of the consignments.
Customs intelligence filed a case with Ramna model police station in early January against Zarar Enterprise, Chaklader Service and MR Trade International for the forgery.
It also arrested MR Trade International owner Mizanur Rahman Chaklader and another customs official in January for their alleged involvement in the forgery.
‘NBR has taken the matter seriously and customs intelligence and central intelligence cell of NBR are working to detect the individuals responsible and entities for the breaching the system,’ NBR member (tax administration and human resource management) Kalipada Halder said.
The forgery has created a threat for the country’s security and tax administration, he said.
The committees have already identified some key individuals for their alleged involvement with the incident, he said.

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